Seminyak used to be the chic spot of Bali, but Canggu is quickly catching up on the hipster factor. Already renowned for their lush rice paddies, the formerly underdeveloped dirt paths are becoming more paved for tourists and the area is now famous for its’ healthy cafes and good-quality coffee houses. Even if you aren’t in Bali to get drunk and party (like you would if you were in, say, Kuta) there’s always time for a quick happy-hour beer or cocktails for a mid-day punch. With that in mind, here are nine great bars in Canggu that will ensure you’re having a healthy balance between superfood salads and naughtier alcoholic drinks.
The Hands-Down Best: The Lawn
This swanky bar stretches across the beach, an array of chic white umbrellas and an infinity pool nestled between the terrace and sand. You can choose to lie on a beach towel if you prefer being closer to the ocean, or one of the daybeds or lounge chairs on the patio where you can keep yourself sand-free. You can literally spend the whole day here; open every day from 10 am to 11 pm, you can suntan while the sun is high in the sky with a cocktail by your side, and choose from a menu of burgers, salads, and pasta for lunch. By evening, the fairy lights are turned on and the whole place becomes more elegant, so put on a sundress and head inside the restaurant for a candlelit dinner. Drinks-wise, there is a huge list of cocktails, mocktails, beers, wines, and spirits to choose from. Some of their more funky creations include the spicy margarita and white chocolate espresso martini. On Fridays, make full use of their 50Fridays, where prices are slashed by half to ring in the weekend the right way.
The Eco-Lovers: La Brisa
Situated on Echo Beach, this beach club serves up delicious, sustainably-sourced Balinese and Spanish food. Its’ name means “sea breeze”, and is a wild, enchanting place to be; the mystical gypsy-style establishment is made of reclaimed fishing boats and its’ menu changes depending on what the local fishermen catch. It is truly an eco-friendly haven where you can relax and enjoy, knowing you are in the hands of people who love this beautiful environment. You can lie on daybeds under hammocks and paper lanterns swinging from the shady palm trees with freshly crafted cocktails the color of the sunset you will enjoy.
The Asian Fusion: Ji Terrace by the Sea
This stunning Asian-fusion bar restaurant marries the rich local folklore with the exoticism of Far East Japan. Statues of goddesses and monsters from Balinese legends adorn the establishment, and the rich, opulent jewel tones of the furniture will make you feel like royalty. The drinks menu here is Asian-inspired, with cocktails such as Cherry Shogu Martini and Midoriyama (Cointreau, Midori, vodka, pineapple) that encapsulate the fusion of Japan and Bali. The sake list is extensive too, so if you like your Japanese rice spirits do give this a shot!
The Beer Paradise: Old Man’s
An institution of the Canggu bar scene, the original hype beach bar is a beer paradise. A popular haunt of surfers given its’ proximity to the surf reef, it’s a funky, hipster place as seen from the thatched roofs, striped parasols and candy-colored bean bags perfect for lounging with pals after you catch some waves. Live music is a staple, bands will play anything reggae and later in the evening, DJs come out with some EDM and house tracks. Tequila happy hour is five to six in the evening with lots of Jose Cuervo, while Dirty Old Wednesdays ensure rowdy beer pong and drunken table dancing.
The Hipster Hangout: Deus
“God’s Restaurant”, for those who speak Latin. From Deus Ex Machina, the uber-cool Aussie vintage motorbike and surfboard hipster brand comes another impossibly hip venture — Deus, the Temple of Enthusiasm. Call it pretentious, gimmicky, whatever. But Deus means business; it has a store selling all its’ merchandise from motorbikes to handcrafted surfboards with an art gallery and factory right on hand, and a cozy cafe. Located a short bike ride from the prime surf spot Echo Beach, it’s the ultimate place for cool kids to hang out. Order yourself something that matches the hipster level here, like coconut ice ball shots, or their Bloody Deus, their take on a bloody mary. If you aren’t up for alcohol because you want to catch a proper wave, their coffee is pretty legit too.
The Mexican Joint: Lacalita Bar y Cocina
It’s no secret that Bali loves Mexican food (the two-hour long queues at Motel Mexiola can attest), and this chain franchise can be found all over the island. This joint is all murals and yellow lights, just like any good Mexican place should be. And just when you thought tequila couldn’t get any more killer, Lacalita lives up to its’ double-skeleton logo with their infamous jalapeno-infused tequila. It is not for the faint-hearted, but if you want to flex when you get back to school, be our guest. When they’re not messing with your liver, they serve some pretty authentic Mexican cuisine from tacos to quesadillas and tortillas. Happy hour is two-for-one from 5 to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays, a truly blessed day!
The Beautiful: The Slow
This is a boutique hotel elevated if that’s even possible. When a hotshot interior designer met a hot model on set in Australia, they gave birth to The Slow, an artsy establishment with chic accommodation, all-day-dining, a bar, curated art and a mini shopping gallery. The most beautiful people are attracted to this place, as expected, and the whole place has a certain Venice Beach-esque vibe to it. After all, quality attracts quality, right? Sit on the rooftop bar at sundown for some mega-views, and get their famous Batur Negroni. While we’re at it, be sure to order the California Grape and Burrata sandwich made from locally-produced Javanese burrata and a glass of red wine for the perfect afternoon pairing as you people-watch.
The Bohemian: La Laguna
This gypsy-chic tacos place is like stepping into a whole other world, where gypsy caravans and the tropical palms meet, and semi-cobbled paths dipped in shadowy hues will tingle your senses. The haphazardness of this place is its charm, you will drink surrounded by hanging plants and wooden panels. They serve some fantastic tapas for you to munch on as you lounge in bliss. Order the Tropical Lagoon, a vodka-pineapple-Malibu infusion, or the sexy Herb & Spiced, this Thai-inspired lemongrass-chili-basil-lime cocktail will perk you up immediately.
The Luxurious: Finn’s Beach Club
Right on the front of the popular Berawa surf break is this bamboo hut-inspired beach club, specially designed to give guests a 180-degree view of the sunset. You can book a private daybed and spend the whole day here, and there are even showers and changing rooms so you can take your look from swimsuit to bar-chic for the night. You can opt for the Champagne Bar at the pool deck or the tropical-chic Belvedere Rooftop Bar for an amazing view and a menu of artisanal cocktails.
The Skate Bar: Pretty Poison
This bar-cum-skate park has major vintage California vibes where pro-skaters can bust out their boards to show off to the crowds on the sideline. It is a California deep bowl style, affectionately known as the “dog bowl”. This is also where live DJs and musicians play sets on Thursday nights. If you feel exceptionally daring, get tattooed by the on-site artists! Even if you don’t skate, grab a seat and a bucket of ice-cold Bintang beers with snacks of fries or bangers and mash. The energy is amazing, the crowd is cool and it’s definitely an experience you don’t want to miss.
The Cartel Chic: Pablos
With Netflix series Narcos taking the world by storm, it’s no wonder more bars are embracing a Colombian-style aesthetic, with all the thrills and none of the illegal substances. The pastel color palette softens the hard-edge hip hop music that blares through the speakers and wild parties that go from Dusk til Dawn, Salma Hayek not included. Luca’s pizzas are the best in Bali and are served right here, along with Colombian street food for this chic cantina. Get yourself some shots and tell a sexy senorita “Hola!” and you’re ready to party!
The Street-Style Hangout: Peekaboo
This cheeky little place is all graffiti walls and the aesthetic is reminiscent of Paris’ hip Canal St. Martin area. Street-style is evident here, with old-school hip hop beats and brutalist concrete interiors. But behind this seemingly hood venue is a delicate culinary experience by Aussie chef Dale Kettle. Serving up a fusion of Asian street food and popular brunch items like burgers and avocado toast, the vibes are easy and the food is good. Their artisanal cocktails are perfectly paired with their nibbles; try the Sour Lemongrass cocktail with vodka, orange liqueur, amaretto, lemongrass and starfruit for a punch!
The Rock ‘n’ Roll: Gimme Shelter
Fans of rock should definitely check out this swinging bar where all the oldies are played, inclusive of the band that inspired its’ name, of course, The Rolling Stones. Started by local blues artist Made Putrawan (A.K.A. Made J), this bar has all the right underground feels and plays live music from local bands, a variety of genres from rock to indie. The crowds start to get wild as the night wears on, and booze is always ready to keep the party going. Go for the cheekily-named signature Bensin shots, a local word for petrol. After a few shots of that fuel, you might just have the courage to belt out your favorite Jim Morrison song at the open-mic.
The Versatile: Sand Bar
This casual bar on Echo Beach is made for easy. By day, it’s a highly convenient place to flop onto a beanbag after a day of catching some waves. You can grab a couple of Bintangs as the sun sets and chill. But the real party comes out when the lights go out. The bar comes to life with its’ young, debaucherous crowds filled with drink and ready to party. Stay on if you dare, you had better be up for everything and anything as the night goes on.
So there you have it, the 14 best bars in Bali, all inclusive of nibbles and meals to keep your carb levels up. Bottoms up, mates, and drink responsibly!